An artificially-intelligent, online personal coaching tool which can help people achieve their career goals has been designed with the help of staff and students at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU).
icheev is the product of Go MAD Thinking, a Leicestershire company, which specialises in helping people to achieve their professional aims through a variety of methods, including exercises that encourage effective and creative thinking and a practical toolkit of business skills.
The interactive system enables people to think through, plan and monitor their goals as if they were being coached face to face.
DMU has worked with Go MAD Thinking in a number of ways to support the development of icheev:
• Dr Simon Coupland, Senior Research Fellow at DMU’s Centre for Computational Intelligence (CCI), has helped to develop the artificial intelligence (AI) behind the system
• A DMU BA (Hons) Marketing graduate, Natasha Fernando, is currently working with the company as part of a shorter Knowledge Transfer Partnership (sKTP) to develop new marketing materials and strategies
• A DMU MSc Computational Intelligence and Robotics graduate, Antonis Pavlakis, also took part in an earlier Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with the company, working as lead developer on the project
• A number of DMU students have contributed to the project by taking work placements with Go MAD Thinking
As well as helping the user to identify their objectives and the steps they need to take to achieve them, icheev offers advice and encouragement as they work towards those goals.
The artificial intelligence developed by DMU allows the icheev system to give users tailored suggestions and tips according to the information they provide when completing their profile.
Dr Coupland hopes to further develop the AI in future so the system is able to learn from experience and can apply that learning to each new user.
Dr Coupland said: “Artificial intelligence allows the personalisation of interfaces and tasks to be suited to an individual’s needs and cognitive style.
“In a system like icheev, AI means we can tailor the thinking exercises in order to ensure each individual gets the most from the experience.”
Go MAD Thinking has an extensive client list and has provided coaching expertise and business improvement services to companies including British Sugar, GE Healthcare, Matalan, Indesit, Harvest Housing and Royal Mail.
In November, British Sugar won a Food and Drink iNet Innovation Award for its training programme devised by Go MAD Thinking.
The company now wants to expand into online services so that customers have flexibility in how they access these services.
Kathryn Roberts, Thinking Engineer at Go MAD Thinking, said: “Traditionally much of our work has been done face to face, but there is a lot of potential for some of it to be more technology based.
“This is a starting place for us in moving towards the future where online tools are a complement to the rest of the services that we offer.”
Dr Coupland added: “Working with Go MAD has been a great experience for us. icheev has given us the opportunity to showcase our world-leading expertise in a product which has the potential to be used by a large number of people. The Go Mad development team has been able to make use of our expertise and together we’ve created an excellent product.”
Go MAD is currently piloting icheev for corporate use but plans to develop it further for the individual market next year.
Companies interested in using icheev should call 01509 891313 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
for more information.
Posted on Wednesday 8th December 2010